UFO ROUNDUP

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Volume 10
Number 31
August 3, 2005

Editor: Joseph Trainor

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"MISSING TIME" REPORTED IN THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE

On Monday, July 11, 2005, at 8 p.m., Ray Diaz and his neighbors had a UFO encounter in hurricane-ravaged Milton, Florida (population 7,045), and afterwards, Ray reported, he had a strange episode of "missing time."

"There was no light in our neighborhood, no power because of Hurricane Dennis," he reported, "I'm still not sure if I was dreaming. There is a naval base about 5 miles (8 kilometers) to the north. But I remember sitting outside on my deck at around 8 p.m. I remember hearing the buzz of generators. All of a sudden, everything got quiet."

"I looked up and saw a triangular object, not much higher than 70 feet (21 meters). This object had a base 100 feet (30 meters) wide at its widest area. It almost blended into the sky because it was a black color, with a hint of gray, and the only lights were dim red lights on the bottom of each point of the triangle."

"I remember not being able to talk. I looked over and saw neighbors on both sides of me looking up, too. I remember sitting up and taking the trash can to the front yard by the road. All of a sudden, I heard generators again and looked around and did not see the object. I remember feeling suddenly very afraid and sick to my stomach."

"The next thing I remember is waking up at 6 a.m. the next morning."

Ray added, "There was a large dim light on the edge of each point of the triangle, and the bottom of the object looked like there was an abundance of what looked to me like duct work along the bottom. The bottom was not smooth. These pipes seemed to be running at different angles."

The UFO "was about 50 to 80 feet (15 to 25 meters) high. Speed was extremely slow. I can only estimate that it was moving at about 5 miles per hour."

Milton is on Florida Highway 90 about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northeast of Pensacola. (Email Form Report)

(Editor's Comment: Welcome to Missing Time Week here at UFO Roundup. Not only did we receive two "missing time" reports from points on opposite sides of the Earth, we got a horrifying report from people in Colorado who may have witnessed their neighbors being abducted. Keep reading...)


AUSTRALIAN WOMAN REPORTS "MISSING TIME"

On Tuesday, July 19, 2005, at 3:30 a.m., Dina Holdcroft was driving on a lonely country road outside Ravenshoe, in the far north of Australia's state of Queensland, when strange things began happening to her.

"All at once, I heard unusual sounds on my car radio," she reported, "My mobile phone kept receiving messages. I picked it up and said, "Hello? Hello?" There was no response."

"Suddenly, there was a light all about the car. The car engine cut out for a split-second, then came back on, very powerful, like the battery was fully charged. An illuminated mist came all around the car. I heard a sound like Whhiiiiiiiiiirrrr."

"And that's all I remember. I had a loss of time. Half an hour."

Ravenshoe is in Queensland's "Top End," located about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Cairns. (Email Form Report)


UNUSUAL UFO DISPLAY IN IDAHO SPRINGS, COLORADO

On Wednesday, July 20, 2005, at 3 a.m., the eyewitness reported, "I suddenly woke up. It was very quiet, an eerie quiet. I looked out the bedroom window and saw a huge yellow light that was pulsating slowly at first. It was yellow and circular in shape. There were at least five dark lights surrounding it."

"As it began to pulsate over one of the homes two houses down" in Idaho Springs, Colorado (population 1,889), "it suddenly began to pulsate faster. And, as it pulsated, the light began to glow larger and brighter, and it was sending off a beam of white light to something above it. It was also sending a white light to another yellow ship that was stationary to the south of our house on the opposite side of the canyon we live in. It pulsated to a huge round yellow orb with black lights on it. Then it would stop pulsating, and the light would get dimmer and smaller, and then it would move on to the next house. We watched this happen all the way down the mountainside. It stopped at each house."

"Hovering over each house, pulsating to a bright light, sending off the white light (beam) in each direction, and then go dim and going on to the next house. From one to another, methodically. We watched it go up and down to compensate for the height of each house's roof."

"We also noticed, watching a family of raccoons who live in the area near our shed roof (which is) right outside our bedroom window. There were about seven of them. They seemed like they were coming out of a stupor. They acted (sluggish) as if they had been drugged or something. They stumbled and began to watch in a southerly direction (looking to the second UFO above the canyon rim--J.T.) They also sat there staring for some time and then left."

"We watched until 4:30 a.m. We were very tired and finally gave up watching once the ship moved around the bend of the canyon. It went out of sight, but the ship on the southern mountainside still stayed in place for the entire time, receiving the white light from the pulsating one. It also had light being sent down from the heavens above."

She estimated that the moving yellow UFO was "about the size of two semi-trucks across. My sister and I saw it. My boyfriend refused to look out the window. I don't know why."

"We didn't go outside because the raccoons were the size of small dogs!"

Idaho Springs is just north of Interstate Highway I- 70, located about 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Denver, the state capital.

(Editor's Comment: Incredible as it seems, the witness and her sister appear to have witnessed a multiple alien abduction. This gives us some insight into how the aliens work. First the "collector" UFO moves into position at low altitude over a selected house. The "white light" must be some kind of teleportation beam. The "collector" beams the sleeping humans out of their bedroom, handing them off to a larger UFO waiting some distance away. Or directly into space, as she reported. Of course, the big questions are...(1) Why are they going "methodically" from house to house in Idaho Springs? (2) What happens to the abductees aboard the more distant UFO? and (3) How do they get the abductees back into their bedrooms when they've finished with them? Questions, questions...)


LARGE CUBE-SHAPED UFO SIGHTED IN PORTUGAL

On Monday, July 25, 2005, in the evening, an architect was walking on the beach at Matosinhos in northern Portugal when he spotted an unusual "cube-shaped UFO."

"An architect from Matosinhos told TV Channel 1 in Lisboa that he saw a UFO yesterday while walking the beach at night," reported Casimiro Moreira, UFO Roundup's correspondent in Portugal, "He said the sighting lasted for two minutes. 'It was like a cube floating above the sand, then it flew away towards the night sky, causing an explosion of light at high altitude.'"

Matosinhos is located about 10 kilometers (6 miles) north of Oporto and 235 kilometers (148 miles) north of Lisboa, Portugal's capital. (See the Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manha for July 26, 2005. Muito obrigado a Casimiro Moreira por eso caso.)


SILVER NIGHT SAUCER VIDEOTAPED IN TURKEY

On Sunday, July 24, 2005, at 9 p.m., tourist Tommy Lynch was walking the streets of Kusadasi in Turkey when he heard a commotion behind him. Turning, he saw "a fast moving object" and brought his hand-held camcorder into play.

"I have 15 minutes of video on my camcorder, filmed on two consecutive nights, Sunday and Monday (July 25, 2005)," Tommy reported, "The object flew from north to south, right over the center to town. It was silver, a long saucer shape almost like a light bulb, and it was moving at an incredible speed." (Email Form Report)


DAYLIGHT DISCS SIGHTED IN BUCKHANNON, W.V.

On Friday, July 22, 2005, at 2 p.m., Warren Peters walked out to his car in Buckhannon, West Virginia (population 5,725) and spotted a curious gleam "in the sky approaching from the northeast."

"They were round like CDs (compact discs--J.T.). No one saw them but me. They moved fast. I seen one go as fast as 2,000 miles per hour (3,200 kilometers per hour) They were silver and light gray. They were about 3,000 to 4,000 feet above the ground. They departed to the west at 45 degrees above the horizon."

Buckhannon, W.V. is on Route 20 and Highway 33 about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south-southeast of Clarksburg. (Email Form Report)


NIGHT SAUCER CAUSES STIR IN SOUTHERN MALAYSIA

A large silent saucer caused a stir in Malaysia's southern state of Johor Bahru when it approached and hovered over the village of Mukim Plentong on the night of Friday, July 22, 2005.

"Villagers turned out by the dozens to watch the strange object, which approached from the northeast very slowly," reported Mohammed Johari Senin, UFO Roundup's correspondent in Malaysia. "The UFO arrived at 11:45 p.m. It was approximately 5 meters (16.5 feet) in diameter. It was seen by the people living on Jalan Pasir Pelanga (street). The saucer hovered for several minutes. It did not depart. It simply disappeared at the stroke of 12 midnight."

Johor Bahru is 400 kilometers (250 miles) southeast of Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. (Many thanks to Mohammed Johari Senin for this report.)


"ANGEL HAIR" FALLS IN WEST GUILFORD, VERMONT

Strange filaments, said to resemble the phenomenon called "angel hair," fell from the clouds in the vicinity of West Guilford, Vermont on Wednesday, July 20, 2005, shortly after 12 noon.

According to David Schroeder, "I drove from Falmouth, Mass., where I live, to Richmond, N.H., where my brother lives. My brother told me that several days before, about the (July) 20th, he observed an extremely weird group of clouds over (southern) Vermont," around Governors Mountain, between South Pond and the town of West Guilford," at about noonday, between 12 and 2 p.m. He stated that the clouds were about 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of his location (He can see the windmills of the Harriman Reservoir from his house--D.S.)."

"With the naked eye, he observed strange flame-like filaments emanating from about three separate clouds. These were like nothing he had ever seen before. There was a layer of haze, with clear sky above, and the clouds were right at the back edge."

"He was so impressed by the phenomenon that he regretted he didn't have a camera handy to photograph them."

"The strange flame-like filaments dissipated in just a few minutes. The participants of this sighting, with the sighting in Exeter, N.H., 50 miles (80 kilometers) to the east, caught my attention when I heard about the Exeter sighting this past week."

West Guilford, Vt. is located 6 miles (10 kilometers) southwest of Brattleboro. (Email Form Report)


UFOs SIGHTED IN ONTARIO AND BRITISH COLUMBIA

UFO sightings continued in Canada last week, with sightings in the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario.

On Saturday, July 23, 2005, at 5:45 p.m., eyewitness S.W. spotted a UFO over Kamloops Lake in British Columbia.

"From Chapter's Viewpoint, I observed the object following the mountain range to the left," he reported, "After following the mountain range to the west, it proceeded to drift over the mountain range, following the direction of the river (west--J.T.). At approximately quarter after five, I was having a bite to eat at one of Chapter's Viewpoint's picnic tables with a friend. He observed an unusual object moving along the mountain range. It may have been a helicopter, but I did not hear any sound from it. It also looked unusually featureless."

"From what I could see, it was a strange spherical white object. We watched it as it followed the mountain range, and then it drifted down the range and out of sight, following the river exiting Kamloops Lake."

"It may very well have been a conventional aircraft, but I could not identify what it was. It was spherical and quite large, perhaps as large as 30 metres (100 feet) in diameter. I estimated it to be anywhere between 100 to 300 feet (30 to 90 meters) above the mountain range. It appeared to be moving more slowly than an airplane and yet faster than a blimp or a hot-air balloon."

The following day, Sunday, July 24, 2005, eyewitness W.E. spotted a UFO over Grey County, Ontario in central Canada.

"It was a triangle of flashing lights--blue, white, red, with the red and blue lights rotating their position and the white light blinking but (it) stayed in one spot on the object. The object came from behind the treeline to the west and went to the east or northeast in a strange manner. Looked like plane lights but was flying as if it was losing control. Three bright flashing lights, erratic up-and-down motions, while continuing to move from west to east downwards." (Email Form Reports)


UFO FLOTILLA SIGHTED IN CENTRAL MEXICO

"Unidentified flying objects appearing in the skies over Ciudad Valles, near San Luis Potosi" in central Mexico "for the past three months have caused a commotion and a series of emotions ranging from fear to uncertainty."

"The most important manifestation occurred on the 15th of the month (July 2005) at 2 p.m. when at least a dozen UFOs remained visible for nearly five minutes over the city's southwestern quarter and expelled what witnesses referred to as 'space junk.'"

"The case that has attracted the most attention, due to the alertness of the eyewitnesses, the time of day and the quantity of unknown objects was the one that took place over the barrios La Diana and Praderas del Rio (neighborhoods)."

"That day, as the temperature reached 40 degrees Centigrade, Miroslava and Luz Esmeralda Martinez Hernandez, Prof. Ruth Sandoval, Enrique Sandoval and other persons walking along Calle 16 de Septiembre (street) in La Diana discovered--while they went about their daily activities and happened to look upward--a large number of silvery oval-shaped and semi-circular objects moving very slowly to the east of Ciudad Valles and over the Rio Valles."

"'I counted about 10 objects. Nine of them were small or at least appeared so at a distance. Then there was a larger one out at the end of the row,' said an excited Miroslava Martinez Hernandez. She explained, still overwhelmed, that some of the objects made pendulum- type motions. In other words, they rocked from side to side 'like a baby's cradle' and, when the largest object appeared, they surrounded it, forming a kind of ring."

"'Look, they were exactly there,' she said, pointing to a radio antenna atop a house in Praderas del Rio."

"'I even got the impression they were studying the antenna,' she added."

"The account was corroborated by Luz Esmeralda, holding her child in her arms as she explained the UFOs' movement and shape with her hands. 'Yes, I also managed to see how they were shaped, moving very slowly. The largest was black, but the ones I saw were circular- shaped, like a plate.'"

"Both identified almost at the same time the detail that surprised them the most--the objects expelled some sort of paper or metallic sheets that were red and black in color."

"'The red was so bright that it hurt one's eyes. Could it have been self-luminous?' asked Miroslava."

"'The objects expelled seemed to be moved along by the wind, and they fell in different directions. We already looked for them but could not find them.'"

"Prof. Ruth Sanchez Sandoval, a neighbor of Miroslava and Luz Esmeralda, stated while she pointed to the clouds in the sky at the time, 'Frankly, it seems to me that they emerged from that cloud.'"

"She said she was in the backyard of her house while her brother Rodrigo was inside. He had just arrived from the USA when the sighting occurred. 'I was stunned by what I was seeing, because, although I've had the opportunity to see UFOs elsewhere in the country (Mexico) and even my husband, Daniel Aguilar, saw the (Mexican) Army capture one of these objects in 1965 when it fell in Oaxaca (state) near Monte Alban, this was difficult.'"

(Editor's Comment: This is the first I've heard of the Mexican Army retrieving a UFO near Monte Alban in 1965. If anyone has more information about this event, please send an email to UFO Roundup.)

"What drew her attention, she explained, was that aboard the largest UFO were yellow and orange lights, and the smaller ones were surrounding it. 'It was as if they had been waiting and, once together, began moving slowly and then vanished from sight. I wanted to record them with my brother's camcorder, but I didn't want to leave the spot and go and ask him.'"

"Prof. Sandoval explained that when she saw the UFOs, they expelled red-and-black-colored things. 'To me, they were hexagonal in shape but very thin, like paper or metal sheets, and they fell in different locations.'"

Another neighbor, "Enrique Sandoval, at first hesitant, explained that he had in fact seen the very same thing as the women. 'The only thing I disagree with is the number, since I managed to see more than 30 objects in the same distance.'"

"Prof. (Ruth) Sandoval explained that the UFOs were neither airplanes nor helicopters. They were noiseless, stood still in the air, and they moved away slowly and then vanished." (See the Mexican newspaper La Manana for July 24, 2005, "UFOs dump space junk." Muchas gracias a Scott Corrales y Dr. Ana Luisa Cid Fernandez por este articulo de diario.)


MARK CHORVINSKY DIES-- A VICTIM OF THE MOTHMAN CURSE?

Mark Chorvinsky, longtime Fortean researcher and the editor of Strange magazine, passed away unexpectedly last week. Some people in the paranormal community are speculating that Mark might be the 84th victim of "The Curse of The Mothman Prophecies."

Mark Chorvinsky was born in Philadelphia, Pa. on March 4, 1954. "A (stage) magician from the age of 7, Chorvinsky acquired an interest in mysteries and a desire to solve them in his childhood. As an adult, Chorvinsky became a filmmaker and a bookstore owner."

"In the early 1980s, Chorvinsky devoted endless hours to categorizing the data collected by the International Fortean Organization (INFO) while managing his commercial bookstore, Dream Wizards," in Rockville, Maryland, a suburb of Washington D.C.

"Displeased with the administration of INFO, Chorvinsky broke with the group and then founded and became the editor of Strange magazine in 1987."

"His magazine reflected Chorvinsky's journey into Fortean investigations, at first publishing detailed overview articles on phenomena but then moving to more skeptical and debunking articles on cryptozoological or unexplained subjects, as well as the occasional sympathetic pieces."

"Chorvinsky was one of the first to discuss the possible role of Washington state construction magnate Ray Wallace in the hominological events in 1958, when Jerry Crew found the now-famous 'first' Bigfoot prints--or, at least, the first to be believed as such. Chorvinsky, a skeptic of the 1967 Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin Bigfoot film footage, reported that the film clip was a hoax. In columns in Fate magazine and in Strange magazine, Chorvinsky" aired his theory that award-winning Hollywood special-effects expert John Chambers developed "the Bigfoot suit" supposedly worn by an imposter for the Patterson-Gimlin film. However, as Fortean researcher Loren Coleman pointed out, "Chambers denied his role to investigator Bobbie Short."

"Another debunking focus of Chorvinsky's was the Loch Ness and Owlman work of fellow magician, Doc Shiels," in UK in the late 1970s.

"Chorvinsky carried on a decades-long debate on these topics with his critics."

When the film The Mothman Prophecies debuted in February 2002, it led to a renewed interest in the Mothman sightings in Point Pleasant, W.V. during 1966 and 1967. Just prior to this, Chorvinsky came across an equally mysterious sighting of the entity called Mothman in Maryland during World War II.

In his research, Chorvinsky learned of a strange incident that occurred on July 27, 1944 at Hollywood, Maryland, a small town on Route 245 about 35 miles (56 kilometers) south of Washington, D.C. The sighting took place "at 8:30 p.m. by Father Jim Johnston, the pastor of St. John's Church in Hollywood, Md. Johnston, who was watching an approaching thunderstorm, saw in the sky 'the outspread form of a man with wings.'"

"Chorvinsky learned of this case in January 1990, and then, ten months later, he interviewed a witness, Mike Judge, of Potomac, Md. Judge recalled that in 1968 or 1969, when he was about 7 or 8 years old, a big Mothman flap took place in the area. These two cases became the foundation for Chorvinsky's 'Return of the Mothman' inquiries," which were republished and triggered a new debate when The Mothman Prophecies premiered in 2002.

The coroner listed the cause of death as cancer, but one researcher commented, "Nobody in the Fortean community knew that Mark was even ill."

The "Curse of The Mothman Prophecies" refers to the statistically-unusual series of sudden or violent deaths that have claimed dozens of people linked to the production of the 2002 film. If Mark Chorvinsky was indeed "the 84th victim" of the curse, then he would be the second writer to fall. The first was Jim Keith, author of Black Helicopters over America: Strikeforce for the New World Order and Black Helicopters II: The End Game Strategy, who died in a Nevada hospital under mysterious circumstances in September 1999.

(Editor's Note: On the other hand, as of this writing, the film's leading actors--Richard Gere, Laura Linney and Debra Messing--are still breathing in and out. That's a telling argument against any curse.)

"In his later years, Chorvinsky seemed to return, as with the piece he wrote on the truth behind The Exorcist to reflective examination that analyzed his long interest in films and Fortean topics."

Loren Coleman recalled, "One of Mark's favorite Charles Fort quotations was from (Fort's book) New Lands, 'There is not a physicist in the world who can perceive when a parlor magician palms off playing cards.'"

"Chorvinsky passed away after a long bout with cancer. He was a devoted father, family man and friend to a circle of friends in Maryland and the District of Columbia." (Many thanks to Loren Coleman for this news.)


ITALIANS CLAIM VIRGIN MARY STATUE "TURNED HUMAN"

"Pilgrims are flooding to the small town of Acerra, 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of Napoli (Naples), where dozens claim to have seen a statue of the Virgin Mary (birth name: Miriam bat-Joachim--J.T.) move and take 'human form.'"

"Several witnesses said they saw the marble-and- plaster statue at St. Peter's (Roman Catholic) Church miraculously move its legs and knees on Saturday," July 23, 2005.

"One person took a blurred mobile-telephone image that appears to show the statue's legs a fleshy human color. Strangely, this transformation does not appear on photos taken at the same time with ordinary cameras."

"'Yesterday evening (Sunday, July 24, 2005) I saw the ear lobe extend and become flesh, just like the nose, which assumed a pinkish color,' said Maria, one of the witnesses, 'The gown turned into a veil showing all the legs.'"

"'The legs gradually became more prominent and then the knees moved forwards, until they stretched out the folds of the white dress,' said Domenico, 45. 'It's not the power of suggestion. Many of us really saw it.'"

"There are rumors that one pilgrim managed to record the statue moving with a video camera. When the news of the supposed miracle broke, several people said they had seen the statue move previously."

"'The Madonna had already moved other times, but you couldn't say anything,' said Anna, 'We had to wait until the bishop found out. Otherwise, no one would have believed us.'"

"Volunteers from the Civil Protection Agency, who were called in to maintain order at the church as thousands of the faithful came to pay homage, are among those who claim to have seen the miracle."

"However, parish priest Father Oreste Santoro said he has not personally seen anything out of the ordinary, and the Roman Catholic Church remains skeptical."

"'Out of instinct, I don't believe it. But I will evaluate all the documents I'm given to decide whether a commission (to determine if a miracle has taken place-- J.T.) should be appointed,' Monsignor Giovanni Rinaldi, the Roman Catholic bishop of Acerra, stated."

Mary's statue "is 1.6 meters (5 feet, 3 inches) high. It was made especially for St. Peter's Church, which opened its doors in December (2004), and stands on a pedestal at the side of the altar. It depicts the Virgin Mary holding a rosary and a cross and wearing a white gown that clings to her figure."

"'I have a statue that is the same but smaller,' Rinaldi said."

"'Yesterday evening, I looked at it from various angles, moving from one room to another. I noticed that it changed color depending upon the light and shade, becoming pinkish, almost as if it were flesh,' Rinaldi added, 'The phenomenon of St. Peter's (Church) statue, which I blessed myself, could be similar. There is a great longing in people's souls, especially in such difficult moments for humanity. There is a desire for good in the face of so much evil.'"

"'But the real sense of devoition is changing one's life, attitudes and relationships with others and taking the right path,' he added."

"The number of reported cases of Madonna appearances and of statues moving or weeping has grown in recent years, and the Vatican has become extremely cautious about giving its seal of approval. Since 1905, the Church has approved only 12 miraculous events and issued 284 rejections."

"One case which caused a commotion in the Church revolved around a (Virgin Mary) statue which started weeping tears of blood in 1995. The 43-centimeter (16- inch) statue belonged to a family who had placed it in the garden of their home in Civitavecchia, north of Rome."

"Reports that it was weeping blood attracted a whirlwind of media attention and thousands of visitors eager to see the miraculous statue. Excitement rose to a peak when the local bishop said he too had seen it weep blood."

"But the Italian Bishops' Conference later took the matter out of the bishop's hands, and the Vatican subsequently avoided making any pronouncement on the authenticity of the plastic Virgin's tears."

"In the wake of the 'Madonna of Civitavecchia,' dozens of statues were reported to be weeping all over the country. Practically all were shown to be bogus copycat cases of people splashing red paint on the cheeks of statues or surrepitiously throwing water on its face."

"The last major (Italian) case was in 2002, when over 30,000 visitors flocked to Genoa to see a bronze statue of Christ, on which a woman reportedly spotted the features of stigmata-bearing saint Padre Pio (birth name: Francisco Forginone--J.T.)." (See the Italian newspaper Il Messagero for July 26, 2005, "Moving statue claimed a miracle." Grazie a Selena Capobianco per questo rapporto.)


DISCOVERY HAS SMOOTH LIFTOFF INTO SPACE

"Trailing a banner of flame, the space shuttle Discovery soared into orbit Tuesday," July 26, 2005. "But the excitement over the historic mission, the first since the Columbia accident in 2003, was tempered by the possibility that Discovery's heat shield suffered serious damage during launch."

"'That was by far the smoothest ascent...we've ever experienced,' Discovery Commander Eileen Collins said to Mission Control in Houston soon after reaching orbit. 'Couldn't ask for a better flight.'"

"Shuttle officials later learned, however, that a camera had detected possible damage to a thermal tile on Discovery's underside just below the nose. The spot is in a vulnerable area on the door that encloses the shuttle's nose landing gear."

On-board survey cameras found two strips of a heat- resistant material "that are dangling from the shuttle's belly. The strips could pose a threat to the spacecraft when it re-enters" Earth's atmosphere.

"The tiny strips are used between the heat-resistant ceramic tiles that protect the shuttle's belly from the 1,600-plus-degree re-entry."

On Sunday, July 31, 2005, NASA engineers "were examining whether the dangling 'gap filler' strips could disrupt the airflow around the shuttle's underside enough to cause it to heat up too quickly as the vehicle descends at supersonic speeds on its return home."

"It's unclear what caused the strips to slip from their positions near Discovery's nose landing gear well...But this is the first time NASA officials have spotted such strips while a shuttle was still in flight, thanks to a raft of new inspection methods, including cameras and lasers on the shuttle's robot arm and cameras wielded by the crew of the International Space Station."

"Discovery's crew plans to take supplies to the International Space Station and to resume station construction halted by the Columbia accident. Completion of the station is part of President (George W.) Bush's plan for NASA's return to the moon."

"The flight is 'a chance to go prove that we do know our business,' said astronaut Pamela Melroy, who is not a Discovery crewmember. 'We owe it to the American people...But I think it's almost as important that we do it for ourselves.'"

(See USA Today for July 27, 2005, "Worries follow smooth liftoff," page 1A; and USA Today for August 1, 2005, "New worry sits on shuttle's belly," page 3A.)


NEW FOAM DEBRIS MAY END NASA'S SHUTTLE PROGRAM

"NASA has grounded all future space flights until engineers figure out why the shuttle Discovery's fuel tank shed pieces of foam during liftoff."

"The debris does not appear to threaten the safety of the seven astronauts aboard Discovery, Wayne Hale, deputy shuttle program manager said Wednesday," July 27, 2005. "The largest piece of debris did not hit the shuttle. Inspections of the shuttle's heat shield Wednesday showed no significant damage."

"Still, the unexpected shower of debris is a serious setback for NASA. The agency had concentrated on eliminating foam debris ever since a chunk of foam, which insulates the fuel tank, fell off and struck the wing of the shuttle Columbia during launch in 2003. The wing was damaged, and the shuttle disintegrated while re-entering the Earth's atmosphere."

"'Until we fix this, we are not ready to go fly again,' William Parsons, shuttle program manager, said Wednesday. 'That means we're grounded.'"

"Parsons said he didn't know how long it would take to fix the tank. NASA had planned for the next shuttle mission for September (2005)."

"Completion of the International Space Station could be delayed by the grounding of the shuttle, the only spacecraft that can bring parts of the station to orbit. A long grounding would also further threaten the number of missions the shuttle could fly if it is to be retired in 2010, as NASA plans."

"Cameras spotted at least three substantial pieces of foam missing from Discovery's tank during its launch Tuesday," July 26, 2005. "The largest measured as much as 33 inches (82.5 centimeters) long and as much as 14 inches (35 centimeters) wide. That makes it about the same size as the piece that struck Columbia."

"Fortunately, the piece tumbled off the fuel tank two minutes after liftoff, too late for the debris to accelerate to dangerous speeds."

"'If this had come off earlier, it would've been really bad,' Hale said."

"The largest piece came off a 37-foot (11-meter) spine of foam called the 'protuberance of air load ramp' that runs down half the length of the shuttle's massive orange fuel tank. It protects other features of the tank from the aerodynamic stresses of launch."

"NASA officials were worried enough that the ramp could rip away from the tank that they started redesigning it months ago. But they decided last year (2004) that the ramp did not pose such an urgent problem that it needed to be addressed before the first post-Columbia flight."

"'Obviously, we were wrong,' Parsons said." (See USA Today for July 28, 2005, "NASA grounds shuttle flights," page 1A.)


KILLER MONSOON FLOODS MUMBAI, INDIA

Mumbai (formerly Bombay--J.T.), one of India's largest cities, "was paralyzed Wednesday," July 27, 2005, "by the strongest rains ever recorded in Indian history, with torrential downpours--92.5 centimeters (37 inches)-- in one day, marooning drivers, forcing students to sleep at school and snapping communication lines."

As of Monday, August 1, 2005, the death toll from the flooding was 910.

"At its worst, the rainfall descended in what looked like a solid wall of water, overwhelming Mumbai, a crowded city" in western India "long accustomed to monsoon rains."

"'Never before in the history of Mumbai has this happened,' said Police Commissioner A.N. Roy, 'Our first priority is to rescue people stranded in floods.'"

"At least 83 people have died in Mumbai, crushed by falling walls, trapped in cars or electrocuted since the most intense rains swept through the city Tuesday evening," July 26, 2005, "Patil said. Phone networks collapsed, highways were blocked, and the city's airports, among the nation's busiest, were closed."

"While Wednesday's precipitation was still being totaled, officials said parts of the city had been hit by up to 94 centimeters (37.1 inches) of rain Tuesday, much of it falling over just a few hours."

"Across the city, traffic was backed up all night and into Wednesday, with drivers abandoning their vehicles on roads that had turned into waist-high rivers."

"According to All-India Radio, about 150,000 people were stranded in railway stations. Others stayed for hours on buses and trains surrounded by swirling waters."

"'We were stuck in a bus all through the night with nothing to eat or drink. It was impossible to get out because there was water all around,' said Yamini Patil, a government employee."

"Rajesh Khubachandri, a businessman, abandoned his car and spent 15 hours marooned with several other people on a traffic island."

"'We saw two bodies floating past. I don't know how they died, but they just floated by early in the morning,' Khubachandri said."

"Television footage showed crowds of people scrambling for food parcels dropped from helicopters by (Indian) Navy rescue teams as the bodies of two men lay sprawled in the streets of a Mumbai neighborhood."

"Such scenes have never before been seen in Mumbai, a cosmopolitan city that is home to India's financial circles and to 'Bollywood,' India's movie industry. Each year Mumbai is brought to a halt for a day or two by the heavy monsoon rains that drench the country between June and September and often leave hundreds of people dead nationwide."

"But Tuesday's downpour left the city reeling."

"'Most places in India don't receive this kind of rainfall in a year. This is the highest ever recorded in India's history,' said R.V. Sharma, director of the Meteorological Department of Mumbai."

"Home Minister Shivraj Patil said 633 people have died nationwide since the onset of the monsoon on June 1, which has washed away tens of thousands of homes, roads, railway tracks and bridges."

"Vilasro Deshmukh, the highest elected official of Maharashtra state, ordered a two-day work stoppage early Wednesday to keep workers at home and called out the military to help."

(Editor's Note: Mumbai is the capital of India's Maharashtra state.)

"'Inflatable rafts will be used to reach stranded people,' Deshmukh announced, 'Please try to stay where you are and don't leave your homes.'"

"Wednesday afternoon, as floodwaters began subsiding, the city began to function again but just barely. The road into Mumbai's financial hub was cleared, though two major highways, as well as hundreds of smaller roads, remain blocked. Skeletal train services connecting downtown areas to the suburbs resumed Wednesday afternoon, and airline flights resumed much later."

"Hundreds of schoolchildren spent the night in suburban schools."

"Param Singh wept with relief after he walked nine hours through rain-flooded streets to reach his daughter's school, where she had spent the night."

"'It was horrible not knowing where she was, if she was stuck in a bus or alone at home since my wife is out of Mumbai at work. I literally wept when I saw her,' said Singh, his clothes drenched as he hugged his daughter."

"India's previous heaviest rainfall, recorded in the northeastern town of Cherrapunji--one of the rainiest places on Earth (Sort of like Seattle--J.T.)--was 82.5 centimeters (33 inches) on July 12, 1910, Sharma said."

"Indian police reported landslides all around Maharashtra state, in Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhurdug and Kohalpur."

"According to Constable S. Jadav, rescue teams began arriving in the village of Kondivali on Tuesday night, hoping to extricate nearly 100 people trapped by a landslide. Kondivali is located 152 kilometers (95 miles) south of Mumbai."

"Another mudslide in the nearby village of Jui was reported to have buried at least 30 people." (See the Indian newspaper New Statesman for July 27, 2005, "Nightmare monsoon drowns Mumbai." Many thanks to Krishnari Bai Dharapurnanda for this newspaper article.)


>From the UFO Files...

1963: PHANTOM CRITTERS OF SHOOTERS HILL

An early sighting of ABCs or Alien Big Cats (known as phantom panthers here in the USA--J.T.) took place over 40 years ago in the Shooters Hill section of Greenwich, a suburb southeast of London.

On July 18, 1963, at 1 a.m., lorry (truck in the USA- -J.T.) driver David Back was "driving up the west side of Shooters Hill" and "stopped to assist what he thought was an injured dog. As he approached, it got up and ran off into the woods. Whatever it was, it was not a dog--it had long legs and a long pointed tail that curled up. It appeared to have a mouth full of food."

"Mr. Back's report to the local police station sparked off a hunt which eventually included extra police from other stations, (British Army) troops and sixth formers from the local grammar school."

"A patrol car went into the woods and disturbed the animal, which 'jumped clean over the bonnet (hood in the USA--J.T.) of a car.' The 'cheetah' was reported several times that night and early morning..."

"The Daily Mirror of the (July) 19th (1963) reported the animal to be golden in colour. The Evening News of the same date states that there had been previous sightings...All large animals in the area were accounted for."

"On the southeastern side of Shooters Hill, near Welling Way, the searchers found claw marks on a tree and, in the mud of a dried-up stream 'a number of prints several inches across with the marks of claws clearly visible.'"

"Three-quarters of an hour before dawn, 23rd July, 1963, (at) Johnson and Phillips' sports grounds, Kidbrooke (about a mile southwest of Shooters Hill--J.T.). Head groundsman Jim Green was awoken by loud snarling noises, starting near Kidbrooke Park Road, and moving along the course of the River Quaggy, a stream running behind bushes and trees along one side of the sports ground."

"A security sergeant from the nearby RAF station also heard the snarls and investigated with a constable. As dawn broke, they saw a big dark animal, between 18 and 19 inches (45 and 47.5 centimeters) high, 'silhouetted against a white cricket screen.' It walked off into the bushes."

"Five carloads of police arrived, by which time, naturally, the beast had disappeared."

"Incidentally, streams leading to the Quaggy rise on the west side of Shooters Hill, where the animal was first seen."

The Shooters Hill area seems to be a Fortean hotspot. For some strange reason, phenomena always make an appearance there on July 24.

On July 24, 1898, paranormal researcher Elliott O'Donnell spotted "what he describes as 'a nature spirit'" in Greenwich Park. "Sitting on a bench beneath a giant, diseased elm, he saw fall from the tree 'a figure half- human and half-animal--stunted, bloated, pulpy and yellow. Crawling sideways like a crab, it made for a bush opposite, into which it disappeared.' Terrified, he fled."

(Editor's Comment: Could this have been an alien from space?)

At the Blackheath Library in St. John's Park, about a mile north of Kidbrooke, a ghost routinely makes an appearance on or about July 24 each year.

"The vicarage of nearby St. John's Church was converted into a library in 1956," and, ever since, "library staff have reported feeling something invisible pushing past them, and lights go on after the library has shut."

"The ghost is believed to be that of Elsie Marshall, who was raised in the vicarage. In 1892, she went to China as a (Protestant) missionary, and on 1 August 1895 was murdered, with others, by a local secret society," the Chai Chiao (League of Vegetarians--many thanks to Chen Jilin) near Fuzhou (formerly Foochow) in Fukien province. "Her ghost is now supposed to have returned to her birthplace."

July 22, 1925 saw "the Great Ice Storm," which "appears to have covered most of the eastern half of our (Greenwich) area, including Eltham, Shooters Hill, Woolwich and Plumstead, before moving away eastwards into Kent, dying out around Bexleyheath and Erith."

"The afternoon was the hottest for two years, reaching 90 degrees (Fahrenheit), though it was sultry with no strong sunshine. Thunder started rumbling about 5 p.m., and, at 6 p.m., the storm broke. There was considerable flooding, with torrents running through the streets, and buses and fire engines grinding to a halt when they ran into deep water. Lightning struck trees and set off fire alarms. But worst of all was the ice..."

"The hailstones started quite small, but soon reached the size of eggs, then, among the smooth round ones, jagged fragments started to fall, and some 4 to 5 inches (10 to 12.5 centimeters) long were picked up. Some had sharp jagged edges. Lawns were turned white. There was terror in upper Plumstead," two miles north of Shooters Hill, "as a 'tornado-like wind' hurled down showers of ice for up to ten minutes."

"'For several minutes, there was one long succession of crashing glass, windows were driven in, and huge pellets carried far into rooms.' Birds on Plumstead Common, knocked out of their trees, were killed and injured. Cows and horses ran about in panic in the fields. People running for cover were cut by flying ice and some even had their clothing cut 'as if by jagged knives.'"

"A hailstone picked up at Abbey Wood weighed over 10.5 ounces. At Woolwich, a fragment weighted over a pound. Ice weighing up to 8 ounces was picked up at Eltham, and Belvedere, where it made a hole in the roof of the Conservative Club, and another made a 6-inch (15- centimeter) hole in the roof of the Salvation Army Hall."

The intersection of Shooters Hill Road and Well Hall Road, at the foot of Shooters Hill, "is reputed to be haunted by a 'White Lady,' a ghost who makes a clockwork appearance on July 24 each year.

In the Roman Catholic calendar, July 24 is the feast day of Saint Lewina, who "is supposed to have been martyred by the Saxons in England before their conversion to Christianity." The site of Lewina's martyrdom? None other than the foot of Shooters Hill.

There is a possibility that St. Lewina's remains were accidentally unearthed in the mid-Nineteenth Century. On June 10, 1844, "a labourer unearthed the skeleton of a woman with the back of her skull badly fractured, indicating foul play. Much long golden hair was still attached to the skull..."

"Prior to this, in the 1830s, it seems that people passing by had heard unaccountable noises and seen the phantom of a woman in a white dress gliding along. The remains were interred in a nearby churchyard, and her identity never discovered."

UFOs are no stranger to the area, either. On September 8, 1974, "a bright, sulphurous light was seen over Plumstead Common at 11:25 p.m. It hovered, then shot off at great speed."

The next day, September 9, 1974, "at mid-morning, the same, or a similar, object was seen at Eltham, a fantastically bright glare, moving slowly."

Phantom panthers, aliens, ghosts, strange ice storms, martyred saints and UFOs--with the possible exception of Bigfoot, Shooters Hill, Greenwich, has it all. (See Fortean Times No. 14 for January 1976, "Notes on Greenwich Phenomena" by Steve Moore, pages 18 to 22. See also the Kentish Mercury for July 19 and July 26, 1963; the Kentish Independent for July 19 and July 26, 1963; the Kentish Mercury for July 24, 1925; the Kentish Independent for July 24, 1925; and the book Casebook for Ghosts by Elliott O'Donnell, Foulsham, London, 1969.)


That's it for this week. Join us in seven days for more UFO, Fortean and paranormal news from around the planet Earth, brought to you by "the paper that goes home- -UFO Roundup." See you next time.

UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 2005 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post news items from UFO Roundup on their Web sites or in news groups provided that they credit the newsletter and its editor by name and list the date of issue in which the item first appeared.

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